3 Ways Fitness Businesses Can Ride the Wave of COVID Unexpectedness

By Jane Bahneman, FBA Special Contributor

With friends and colleagues at the helm of fitness businesses around the country, I have the distinct benefit of leaning into this expansive network for conversation, support, and camaraderie. Quite honestly, I’ve realized each of us has been living in very different worlds for the last two years. The rise and fall in business had something to do with COVID, and a lot to do with location.

Regardless, all of us have most certainly had to “move with the times” in some way or another. I personally live outside of our nation’s Capital. In fact, I live in a state that announced a full quarter stay-at-home order right out of the gate.

For almost 24 straight months now, forecasting, budgeting, and making business projections has been like trying to hit a moving target. So how am I surviving? Instead of trying to swim upstream, which was utterly exhausting, I’ve learned to surf. I’m pleased to say that both of my brick-and-mortar studio locations are re-opened and are continuing to stabilize.

I’d like to share the habits that I have adopted personally and professionally during these times that may have gotten me here today, stable and willing to expand after a tumultuous two years.

Perhaps these ideas will ring true for you, too.

I’ve let go of “what was”

It’s hardly relevant in many ways anymore. My business was flying high when shutdowns came. I was crushed the day I had to close my doors. I eventually had to allow myself space to feel that traumatic, and to grieve. It deserved to be processed. Because we cannot move forward if we cling to the past. Nowadays, eyes are up and forward. It is the only way any of us are going. If you haven’t allowed yourself to truly sit with what has happened, maybe carve out a little space to breathe it in, so you can let it go.

“30-days at a time” is my new favorite jingle

It isn’t that I enjoy running my business decision-making and programming this way, but it is the truth of the current times. 30 days before the holidays was saw a tremendous resurgence. 30 days after the holidays we’ve seen a massive COVID surge and resultant fall out. Stand up, assess the situation, and prepare the best you can for whatever might be coming your way. Commit to looking up, over and beyond while still doing your best in this very moment.

Just for “today” is an acceptable approach right now

I’m working differently than I ever have before. Each day I am solving bigger and very real challenges. I’m constantly creating, and re-creating; bobbing and weaving. In the training world, “periodization programming” has intention, with recovery being a necessary part of high performance. Unfortunately, as fitness business owners today, we might not be getting the opportunity to rest very much. But without recovery, we simply cannot be at the top of our game. So, just for today, create a healthy balance in your life’s domains, professionally and personally. It will pay off tenfold tomorrow.

Uncertainty is a very difficult position to sit in, endlessly. It takes its toll. But hope is an incredibly powerful thing. And this situation, it too shall pass.

Get rest, and recover. Embrace the new, and try your best to go with the flow.

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Jane Bahneman, MS, is the owner of Nectar Yoga Studios outside of Washington DC. Jane has been teaching fitness and yoga and speaking nationally for over two decades. She has held leadership roles in prestigious fitness & wellness settings and is the President Jane Bahneman Consulting business coaching for aspiring entrepreneurs. Jane served on the American Council on Exercise Industry Advisory Panel and sits on the Advisory Council for the Fitness Business Association. Her certifications include: ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist; NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist; ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor; ACE Certified Health Coach, Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 and Prenatal-RYT.

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